Appetizer Planning for a Stylish Cocktail Hour
Hosting a cocktail party is a fantastic way to entertain with ease and not break the bank. Easy to plan, stylish, and relatively inexpensive, a cocktail hour with delicious appetizers can be almost as much fun to plan as it is to attend. The time of day and guest list will help you determine how many appetizers will be needed to keep your guests happy and full. Here are some guidelines to help you determine how many appetizers you need to prepare:
- If youre hosting an appetizer-only event during off-meal hours, prepare five to six different types of hors doeuvres and anticipate that guests will eat one or two from each selection.
- Events taking place during meal hours need to include enough food to constitute an entire meal. Therefore, plan on serving eight to ten different appetizers with party guests enjoying two to three of each type. For appetizers in place of a meal, offer cold, warm, and dessert options.
- If your list of attendees includes a number of men, keep in mind that they tend to have a bigger appetite than a roomful of women or seniors.
- Always be sure to include a number of fillers as well such as nuts, olives, breadsticks, and dips.
When planning your small savory bites, here are a few points to consider:
- Be inspired by the season. Seasonal selections from a farmer's market or harvest festival can provide a number of delicious options.
- Have fun experimenting, but dont go overboard. Consider serving one or two unique items and fill in the rest with tried-and-true crowd pleasing appetizers.
- Variety is definitely a positive for cocktail parties. Mix up flavor profiles, temperatures, and textures to keep things exciting.
- Keep particular food needs of guests in mind. Be sure to offer a few options that are vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy-free.
Take time well ahead of your party to peruse Pinterest, Epicurious.com, FoodNetwork.com or your favorite recipe site to find just what you're looking for. Dont forget to pull out your own cookbooks for popular family recipes. Suggestions that incorporate the points given above might include:
- Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
- Goat Cheese-Stuffed Peppers
- Pears with Honey and Gorgonzola
- Bacon-Wrapped Squash Bites
- Mini Chicken and Waffles
- Shrimp and Spanish Chorizo Bites
- Spinach Macaroni and Cheese Muffins
- Mini Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Cr่me Fraiche
Tried and True (with a twist)
- Warm Blue Cheese Bacon Spinach Dip
- Bacon-Wrapped Cream Cheese Jalape๑o Bites
- Avocado Deviled Eggs
- Kicked Up Guacamole with Lump Crab Meat
The Perfect Supplies for an Appetizer-Filled Event
Napkins.com offers a generous selection of wholesale disposable serving items
ideal for helping to throw the perfect cocktail party. First, youll need to determine how you are planning on serving the appetizers and setting up the venue. For more formal events, have serving staff float through the room with appetizers on trays. Buffet-style is a great option for the majority of parties and allows guests more freedom to decide what they want and when. A combination of the two can also be considered. Buffet tables can be set up with a number of appetizers and servers can come around with hot foods fresh from the kitchen or more expensive items you want to be sure guests only sample once. Tableware selections featured on Napkins.com that are perfect for cocktail parties with appetizers include:
- Form & Function Large Oval Trays ' The 11" x 16" plastic trays come in black, white, and clear.
- Form & Function Round Compartment Trays - Each tray measures 16" in diameter and includes 7 sections for holding and separating food items. Available in clear, white, and black.
- Trendware Square Appetizer Plates - The mini sized 5" plates are a trend in tabletop entertaining and include clear, red, blue, and green selections.
- Mini Forks and Mini Spoons ' These are perfect for bite-size samples when a pick just wont do. Mini plastic cutlery is available in assorted colors and metallic.
- Beverage Napkins - With a wide range of colors and materials, we have just the right cocktail napkin to meet your needs.
- Linen-Like Tablecovers ' Disposable round and rectangular tablecovers that look and feel like linen are available in a variety of colors and can help you set a classy scene.
- Linen-Like Flat Pack Napkins ' These napkins arrive flat and unfolded, which makes them perfect for lining appetizer trays.
The size of your venue will also determine how you serve your appetizers. If the setting is small, set up one round table in the middle of the room. Guests will more easily be able to maneuver around searching for the perfect savory nibble. Several rectangular tables can be set up in larger event spaces to create more than one appetizer station. This will keep any one area from becoming overly congested. Set up one table near the kitchen for speedily offering up piping-hot hors doeuvres.
The key to a great party is for the host to have just as much fun as the guests. Exciting and plentiful appetizers along with delicious cocktails are surely all you need!